Our current Transformation Methods Are Missing the Point

February 19, 2018 — Posted by Al Shalloway

We have an online class on FLEX (FLow for Enteprise Transformation) Essentials. I thought the introduction to the current session: 'Starting with FLEX' would be of interest. To learn more about FLEX itself, go here.

Overview of the section

How do you get started with FLEX? What do you need to think about? This section describes the five areas you must consider:

  • The chief aim: What you must accomplish
  • The analysis required
  • The approach: How to go about this
  • The decision factors involved: What to consider
  • Some common situations: Patterns for getting started

The objective is to make this how to start with FLEX more concrete and to give you some clear thinking strategies to help you as you get going.

To contrast FLEX with current methods we should consider how they address two key tenets of the Agile Manifesto:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Responding to change over following a plan

We do not believe it is effective to follow an approach unless the approach includes how to adjust itself as time and learning go on. In addition, That being said, a well-defined starting point must be available. 

In addition to the above tenets, there is the lack of systems-thinking in most Agile methods. Agile as defined, is a team centric approach. This is evidenced by the fact that the team is mentioned 17 times in the Agile Manifesto with management not being mentioned once. Systems thinking has been a missing piece from most Agile methods. Even (or especially) SAFe, which mentions Lean principles throughout its documentation is far from a systems-thinking approach. Taking an entire view does not make things systems-thinking.

These three concepts are the central part of this section:

  • Individuals must learn how to work together in order to be effective
  • We must respond to how our approach, workflow is effective or not and change it accordingly
  • We must take a systems-thinking approach

Our experience has shown that a focused approach on accomplishing just a few things can make a big difference to an organization. We must remember, of course, that our goal is business agility – the quick realization of business value predictably, sustainably and with high quality. To accomplish this requires accomplishing the following:

  • Create alignment by clearly defining strategies, basing initiatives off of them and breaking these down into MBIs
  • Create visibility of the MBIs, their dependencies and their projected release dates
  • Manage work in process at least implicitly
  • Change the eco-system (workflow and/or structure) as necessary

There are surprisingly only a handle of actions one needs to take to get almost any organization started. This session will discuss what these actions are and how one can tailor them to most any organization based on only a light analysis. It will start with a short video. Most of the learning will take place in the discussions and templates to be built during this session.

What you will do

This section is a little different. It involves just one video to watch and think about. Then, we expect you to dialog with your fellow students and the instructors about what you learned and what it means.

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If you like my thinking, I highly recommend you enrolling in the class. It's the equivalent of a 3-day class on Lean-Agile, is self-paced (about 2 hrs a week for 14 weeks) and includes membership in our community of learners for 6 months. This community alone is worth the price ($295) as you can have discussions several thought leaders (including me, of course) as well as many advanced practitioners.

 
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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.



        

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